Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Supporting the Troops

As the day when we honor our military vets draws to a close, I hope you will forgive me for indulging in a small rant along with a humble brag. 

I come from a long line of military veterans. My Dad, my uncles, and my Grandpa all served. As a child of the Vietnam era, I have no stomach for war.

I would not have done well in the military, because I have a speech impediment.

I am incapable of uttering the words, "Yes, Sir!"

But, some of my generational peers did not suffer from my affliction, and, in the absence of a draft, voluntarily signed on to fight the recent wars that were instigated by a group of government chicken hawks.

And, while I may question their judgement, I respect their choices, and, to drag out that hoary cliché, I thank them for their service.

Which brings me to my rant.

Over the last decade or so, the right-wing, "conservative" noise makers and their followers have accused left-leaning, Liberal, pacifists of being unpatriotic, anti-Americans who, because we were opposed to the wars, we therefore, must not support our troops.

I, personally, have been accused of such things, to my face.

Well, not really to my face.

Rather, from behind the cowardly, semi-anonymity of internet chat rooms and Facebook threads.

And, to them I say, "Suck on this!"

When my next door neighbor, (not the Teabagger who is living off the government safety nets of Disability and Unemployment Insurance,) but the other neighbor, a high ranking Army non-com officer who, after doing a tour in Bush Sr.'s war, got pulled back in to serving not one, not two, but three tours in Jr.'s illegal war...

Here comes the humble brag...

Mrs. Blog and I set out to support our neighbor and his company the best we knew how.

We sent "CARE" packages. And not the usual razors, toothbrushes, DVDs and playing cards, which, we were assured, they had plenty of.

But rather, all the fixin's, (food and decorations,) needed to celebrate whatever seasonal party was on the calendar.

I would like to take credit for this. But, the truth is, Mrs. Blog orchestrated it all.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to send 50 pounds of tortilla chips, and enough cans of Nacho cheese, refried beens and jalepeño peppers to feed 100 solders on, Cinco de Mayo, to Fallujah?

Don't ask.

Fast forward to my neighbor's return home.

One afternoon, he shows up at our door, in uniform, accompanied by two of his men, standing at attention. 

They presented us with these...

That flag flew over their base, Camp Bucca.

And the medal of appreciation on the right?

The box bears a brass plaque, signed by, get this, then President George W. Bush, himself.

I know, right?

Our neighbor presented us with these tokens of appreciation with a hint of a tear in his eye, and thanked us for our service.

And then, the three of them snapped off a crisp salute.

It was a moment that left Mrs. Blog and I moved, proud and humbled.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hannibal Buress v. Bill Cosby

Your Blog is feeling #conflicted, right now.

First, some back story...

Your PC has been a stand up comedy junkie for as long as he can remember.

In my earliest days, I remember watching people like Bob Newhart, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, and Señor Wences do their comedy thing on Ed Sullivan.

In my teens, there was George Carlin, Cheech and Chong, Flip Wilson and David Steinberg.

In my youth, I aspired, for a while to be a stand up comedian. I also aspired to be a circus clown, a mime, a magician, a cartoonist and/or an actor. In the cold light of adulthood, I realized that, if you were not one of the very lucky and exceptionally talented few, every one of these professions were a ticket to sadness, loneliness, public derision and, in far too many cases, eventual suicide.

Instead, I chose a much more stable career as a Hollywood make-up artist. (Place irony font, here.) So, okay, I have been very lucky, in my risky career choice. Maybe even exceptionally talented. But, that is open for argument. Discuss among yourselves.

In the '80s, I worked on "A&E's Evening at the Improv" with such future comedy icons as Bill Hicks, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Carry, Rita Rudner and John Fugelsang.

In the last years of the 20th century, I worked with the likes of Sarah Silverman, Margaret Smith, Pauley Shore, Gilbert Gottfried and Louis Anderson.

In recent years, I have had the pleasure of working with Ron White, Bill Engvall, Katherine Madigan, Kate Rigg and the late John Pinette.

Anyhoo... Somewhere between the Sullivan stable and the 1970's comics, there was Bill Cosby.

At some point during the early '70s, the Blog Dad brought a couple of Cosby records home. We all listened together as a family, and I listened over and over again to this funny, funny man.

I idolized Bill Cosby.

To an extent, I still do.

Which brings us to my conflict.

If you are paying attention to what is trending on the Book of Faces, you may have seen this.

The brilliantly funny Hannibal Buress has publicly called "The Cos" out as as a hypocrite and a rapist.
Here is one of the many versions of this story that you can find online, if you Google it, there are more. Feel free to Google "Buress Cosby" for more.

Strong and ugly words from Buress. But...

He is not wrong.

Hollywood, and by "Hollywood" I mean Hollywood, New York, and entertainment industry hubs in between, is a small town.

We have all heard the stories and accusations.

Stories of womanizing and racism about "America's favorite Dad," are common among the people, mostly women, that I work with.

And, as Hannibal points out, there are accusations of drugs and date rape.

Your PC got to scratch, "Working with Bill Cosby" off his professional bucket list.

Bill... excuse me... Dr. Cosby, as he prefers to be addressed...

...Was arrogant and empirical. He treated make-up (me) hair and wardrobe as annoying worker bees. Beneath his respect.

So, what?

"Rapist? Racist? Womanizer? Passive aggressive, asshole?"

Yes, yes, yes and yes.

And yet...

I still admire him as one of the funniest humans on earth.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Phil Hartman Didn't Have to Die: A "What If" Story

A new book about the wonderfully talented Phil Hartman includes a detailed chronicle of his early morning murder. It is a fascinating and tragic read.

Read the excerpt, here.

It is a fact that every decision we make holds unforeseen, future consequences, good and bad. Each path we take presents alternative outcomes. Life is a big "What If?" story.

In the month of May, 1998, production began on "Baywatch" star Pamela Anderson's action/comedy "V.I.P."

Your Blog was there.

In an early production meeting in the weeks preceding the filming of the first episode, we were given a list of the expected cast, stars and guest stars.

At that time, Phil Hartman was in final talks to guest star as the "has-been" 1970s TV action star Colt Arrow. For whatever reason, negotiations broke down in the eleventh hour, and Phil declined the role.

Had Phil taken the role, he might still be alive today.

"What if?"

Had he taken the role, instead of being a sleeping sitting duck for his, (I'm gonna call it like I see it,) psycho third wife Brynn Omdahl, her temper and a gun, in the early hours of May 28th, 1998, he would have been hard at work, (or at least, enjoying a catered breakfast, sitting in my make-up chair,) at a port in San Pedro, CA.

But, he didn't take the role. And the rest is tragic history.

"What if?"

And, now, also, too...

Your PC doesn't want to trivialize Phil's murder, or suggest that backing out of a "V.I.P." guest star role came with some sort of superstitious curse....

(Even though, for four seasons, we regularly joked, darkly, about the "V.I.P. Curse." "David Cassidy has backed out of his cameo and will now be replaced by Ian Ziering? Has anyone warned David?")


In that same first episode, some guy named Charlie Sheen was originally slated to play movie idol Brad Cliff. (No one in casting was delusional enough think they could get Brad Pitt to play Brad Cliff. Get it?) Charlie, like Phil, passed at the last minute. And Charlie, instead of working a more or less honest living doing the acting thing that he does, found himself, instead, cooling his heels in a Las Vegas jail, charged with disorderly conduct. (Which takes some effort in Las Vegas.)

"What if?"

"What if?" Indeed.

Post Script...

The part of Colt Arrow went to a, mostly, unknown "working actor" by the name of Bryan Cranston.

Your Blog wonders whatever became of him.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Once Upon a Time: Some Thoughts

So you all know that "Once Upon a Time" is one of my most favorite, current TV shows. I have not yet seen tonight's episode, (it's Tivoed.) but, based on last week's season premier, I am feeling a bit ambivalent.

The thing that I have loved about the show is it's subversive deconstructionism.

"OUAT" has taken characters and stories that are the lifeblood of ABC's parent company, Disney, and totally screwed with them.

Think about it. "Once" writers created an eighth dwarf and promptly killed him. Mulan is a lesbian. Peter Pan is a scary, Mafia Don, cult leader. And Captain Hook is a pretty decent guy. And let's talk about Rumplestiltskin, aka: "Mr. Gold." Not just the guy who spins straw into gold, but Belle's "Beast," and Hook's "Crocodile," Another bad guy, in fact, not just a bad guy. but the embodiment of evil, as "The Dark One." But, still, a decent person, deep down, fighting his own demons, tooth and nail. And, maybe even winning.

And, speaking of evil fighting demons, Regina, Snow White's evil queen stepmother, and mayor of Storybrooke. Gotta love her and gotta root for her as she fights her own demons on her off and on journey to redemption.

Meanwhile, the show is loaded to the gills with the most delightful "Easter eggs."

For example, the town's resident therapist is "Doc Hopper." A soft spoken guy with a penchant for green clothing and umbrellas. Get it? And, he has a dalmatian named Pongo.

And not just Disney characters. Storybrooke is the home of Ruby and her Granny, Dr. Whale and a hat maker named Jefferson.

Like I said, subversive.

So, why does the first episode of this new season, featuring the characters from "Frozen" feel so, I don't know, corporate? Like "Frozen II." Maybe I will feel better about this story arc after I see tonight's show. Or the shows that follow. We will see. I love the show and have faith that the show's creators know what they are doing and that Disney has given them carte blanche to do what they will.

So, moving on... I got to thinking about what "OUAT" should do next. And I had the most amazing idea.

How cool would it be to introduce Jack Skellington and the "Nightmare Before Christmas" cast to the world of Storybrooke?

Attention "OUAT" writers and producers... Feel free to use this. If you feel that you should send me a royalty check for this idea, I will not refuse it. But, I will understand if you don't.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bashing the GOP. (And Proud of It.)

Hey Blogglitts! Your Uncle PC has been away for a while.

But, I'm back! And I am on fire.

Why do I criticize Republicans? (Or, as my GOP friends put it, "bash" Republicans.) Well, the recalled Arizona senate president, Russell Pearce, is a good example.

Get yourselves caught up, here.

Lack of empathy. No comment beyond this. If you have read this story and don't get it, you may be a Republican.

Ignorance of recent history. (Drug testing for welfare in the states that are doing it has shown that drug use among welfare recipients is a statistical zero. And expensive, to boot.)

Ignorance of recent history, The Last Three Decades Edition. Because if you have lived through the last three decades and have not grasped the damage that Reagan, Bush I, Clinton (GOP Light,) and Bush II inflicted on America, you must have been in a coma. Or, you may be a Republican.

Ignorance of what things public assistance does and does not cover. (“No cash for Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, you’d only get money for 15-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and powdered milk – all the powdered milk you can haul away,” Pearce said. “If you want a steak or frozen pizza, then you’d have to get a job.” Go ahead. Try buying Ding Dongs and Ho Hos with an EBT card. G'head! I'll be right over here watching and laughing. Rice and beans and powdered milk are okay? In 15 pound bags? Great idea! All the carbs with none of the nutrition. Meat based protein? Like a 75¢ a pound flap steak? Fuck that, lazy takers! Here, have some blocks of cheese, instead. "All you can haul away." Blocks and blocks of artery clogging, colin blocking, minimally nutritious cheeeeezzzze! Or, as I like to call it, frozen pizza in it's embryonic state. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing cheese, here. Because, Mmmmmm...... cheese!

Seriously, your Blog could live on cheese as long as he has a proper supply of Triscuts™ to put it on. (But, I am guessing that Triscuts™ = Ho Hos (also ™) in Russell Pearce's view.) But, yeah. I could live on cheese three meals a day.

Wait, what? My left arm just went numb. My back hurts. So does my chest. Can't breathe. Aackkkkk.

jk, lol. I'm okay. Because I do not live, entirely on cheese. Entirely. Also, bacon. And scotch. And tobacco. But, I am still okay. For now...

I've lost my train of thought. Where was I? Oh, yeah! I'm back...

More ignorance of what things public assistance does and does not cover. "Plasma TVs and X-Box 360s." He forgot to mention pimped out Escalades and Hawaiian vacations.

Basic big government vs. small government hypocrisy.

Exhibit A... Military barracks style housing. “You’ll maintain your property in a clean, good state of repair, and your home will be subjected to an inspection at any time, possessions will be inventoried."  Nope, no government intrusion to be found here. Here in Los Angeles, we actually have a huge, dorm style, mega-shelter for any homeless persons who would like to avail themselves of the amenities. It is run by "bleeding heart, libtards." All while L.A. has perfectly good, municipal, homeless facilities, better known as "Skid Row," and "the 405 off-ramp at Rosecrans Ave."

Exhibit Two... “You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I’d do is get Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations..." aka: "forced sterilization" which is nothing like anything going on in commie Red China.

Finally, Mr. Pearce sums up with the classic Christianist, conservative, go-to argument.

“I know there’s people out there [who] need help, (Stop right there! "...there's people out there...?" "There's?" Call the grammar police! "There's" some super good talking of Englishness, right there, their, they're... it is "there are," you semi-literate dunce... [pause for hyoer-ventilation.]) and my heart goes out to them, too.”  Because he, somehow, is qualified to judge who are worthy of help and who are not. And, he goes on... "That should never be a government role. That’s a role for family, church, and community.”

This takes us back to Ignorance of History.

If taking care of "the lesser among us," could be done by "family, church and community," alone, welfare, Social Security, housing assistance, food stamps, Medicaid and Medicare, would never have had to be enacted, in the first place.

And therefore, also too, I criticize Republicans. I also bash Christianist, Tea-bagging, Ayn Randian, right-wing douche nozzles.

If the (probably made in China,) tri-corner hat fits...

I make no apologies.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams, Pt. 2

Your Blog is still working through his reaction to the sudden loss of one of the funniest humans of his lifetime. 

I have spent the last couple of hours, thanks to the wonder of the internet, immersed in all things Robin Williams. 

I have laughed and cried, (there is about half a box worth damp of Kleenexes™ piled on my desk,) and sat in awe of his genius. 

But, I am still not ready to put all of my thoughts and "feels" (as the kids say,) into a coherent post. Maybe tomorrow night. 

Until then...

I came across a transcript from one of Robin's "Mork from Ork" reports to his intergalactic leader, Orson, that feels all too appropriate at this time.

"Mork calling Orson. Come in Orson..."
Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn't help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I've heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir, you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they're told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they're told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they're very old, they're told not to talk to themselves, who's left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir, I'm saying just the opposite. They make themselves lonely, they're so busy looking out for number one that there's not enough room for two.

Orson: It's too bad everybody down there can't get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here's the paradox sir, because if they did get together, they wouldn't need one. Isn't that zenlack?

While we are at it, here is a clip of another report that feels appropriate...

"Saying Goodbye to a Friend."  

Shazbot! Isn't that zenlack?

Nanu Nanu.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

The world is a little more empty, tonight.

A little less funny.

Robin Williams has "shuffled off this mortal coil."

While not officially confirmed, it appears that Robin asked Hamlet's ultimate question, "To be, or not to be..." and like the prince of Denmark, he chose the latter.

I want to write something meaningful about Robin and his influence on, at least, two generations of fans, friends and admirers.

And I have much to say. But, right now, my thoughts are a chaotic mess, and it is going to take a day or so to get them into some sort of coherent order.

In the meantime, The Blog, Jr., aka: The Hapless Romantic, has beat his old man to the punch and has written a moving tribute to Robin's legacy from his perspective.

Please take a few minutes and check it out.

Until tomorrow night...

                                                                     "Nanu Nanu."